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The Most Important Test For Your Start Up?   No amount of market research can guarantee you will be able to sell your product or service. Business plans devote chapters to sales projections and this can mean nothing. It is much easier to add a couple zeros to sales estimates on a spreadsheet than to add new clients to your roster.   The Biggest Indicator The very best indicator of your future success is whether you have actual sold your services to anybody yet.   The Second Biggest Indicator Did you keep your first client for a while and have you closed a few more?   Wind In The Sails A common problem with start-ups is that they spend too much time in the planning stages. Remember that the true experts are the only ones that can put the finishing touches to your sales model and service offering. The true experts...

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How to Launch a Successful E-mail Campaign   You have an email list through which you periodically send newsletters and special offers. Hopefully you have learned not to abuse that list with too many communications and hopefully you have strengthened the interest of your email group (and therefore the robust strength of its power) by sending out minimal, high quality content that is useful to them in the form of education, entertainment or cash value (savings). If that is the case, you are already sitting pretty for a successful e-mail campaign. However, there are a few necessary actions you must perform to ensure that success. Start with a Strong List You have to have a list of people who are truly interested in what your emails might have to say or what’s the point? Opening the email is key to a successful campaign. How...

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It's All About Grabbing Attention Rich Snippets can greatly enhance your Google search listing, increasing your click through and site traffic. These can range from the rather new Google Authorship feature to displaying star ratings about your content or products. The expanded listing has been clearly shown to differentiate your listing over competitors, so is clearly worth pursuing.   The Small Things Win In the “noisy” environment of the search engine results page (SERP), anything that can bring your listing to the over-taxed attention of people searching, is not only worth doing, it MUST be done. The SERP is a relatively level playing field but Google has allowed the savvy marketer to cheat in some big ways and steal attention and traffic. Marketing victory has always been about the small things. This is counter to what most business owners consider to be their weakness (small...

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Double Your Google Crawl Rate Almost Immediately [case study] All evidence shows that your Social Media reach can directly impact your Google crawl rate and SERP position.   The content marketing business is growing bigger everyday. There are lots of agencies out there that will write blogs for people and update their Twitter account, attempting to grow their business and expand their audience. We closely monitored our results for a number of clients to try to find correlations between various actions we took and Google's responses. Read on to see what we found out! Controlled For - Content Publishing Rate Typically, we published content at the rate of around one post per day.  The content was a mixture between feature unique content and summary articles commenting on existing content with links to the content at the bottom of the article. We correlated natural variation in publishing...

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Know Thyself. What’s a USP?

We have all heard the term “elevator pitch”. This refers to a 30 second or so distillation of your sales message delivered to somebody on a short 30 second elevator ride together. This can also be called the Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Once you define and refine your USP you now have your “story”. All sales happen within a conversation and nothing works better than a story.  

Step One: Identify a universal need.

Discover what business you are truly in. Identity a need that almost everybody has. The broader the group it applies to the better. State it in such a way that touches upon the exact pain that group experiences when they have that need.

Does Your Web Content Pass These 8 Tests? The Golden Rule Of Conversion Treat website visitors like you would like to be treated in a website. As business owners online we are too close to our story and product to think clearly about our own website design. ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS FOCUS -  What's the focus of my page, what I want to say, or what they want to know or learn? THE RABBIT HOLE -  Is there an obvious next deeper step they can take. How far down the rabbit hole can they dig? USEFUL - Does my content display my cleverness or offer seriously useful information to visitors? FACTS - Does my content have lots of my opinion or actual facts? PUSH or PULL - We all want to lock people in our sites. Are you doing this by manipulating visitors or enticing them with better than average content? Are they...

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The Biggest Secret to Closing the Deal Right Now!   You might have a protocol that you typically follow when you make a sales call. You might even have a checklist in front of you and are carefully ticking off each item as you cover it; make initial phone contact, assess the clients needs, suggest solution(s),… But your client might have already said SOLD and be waiting to sign a proposal and you missed it entirely because….you weren’t listening. Listen Frequently, when talking to the potential client for the first time, they will often tell you within the first few words of your call that they are ready to buy today! The art of listening is important in all relationships and this is very true in your relationship with your clients too. When you have them on the line, listen for phrases like: “We’ve been...

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READ THIS before putting video in your site. The number one concern about using a video spokesperson is the "annoyance factor". Here's my advice to business owners losing sleep over the worry about annoying people on the internet. Immediately dismantle your website and stop all further advertising of any kind. I'm sure that your ads are annoying somebody somewhere and this way you can be sure never to annoy anybody again. Now you can get some sleep. Don't Let The Inmates Run The Asylum Business owners are so sensitive to every comment and reaction to their website. They want to let all feedback guide their online strategy, and yet in their Brick and Mortar business they wouldn't change everything on the comments of just a few. If sales were up, then in fact they would be very resistent to listen to anybody about making...

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It used to be that a funny/outrageous/weird television commercial was something worth discussing later. One problem with that method was that  you might not remember the brand name they were trying to lodge in your brain with that ad. It took me months to realize the amusing lizard ads were for Geico. Nowadays, something funny/outrageous/weird can spread like wildfire over the internet within mere moments via facebook, twitter, email, etc… so if you can make a video go viral, you have struck internet “gold”. But how?   Can you even orchestrate this feat or do you just luck into something like that? Here are a few tips to bringing about the kind of attention you’re wanting with your online videos. First Two Rules of Thumb Evoke Emotion & Keep it Short Overall, people need to feel something when they watch the video, something fundamental that...

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Communication Works Miracles, Not Video Once we realize that nobody goes to a website to be impressed, or be entertained, the notion of using video takes a different path. As business owners, we become so obsessed with our own story that we forget the cardinal rules of advertising; what's in it for me (WIIFM). If we can discipline our message or video script to answer the question "So What?", then we might stand a chance that people will watch the video all the way through. What's the secret? Keep thinking about that question, SO WHAT? You want to say "we've been in business for 20 years". I say SO WHAT? It doesn't mean that you can't make that statement it means that you need to tell them how this directly benefits them as customers. "We've been in business for 20 years, and that means...

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